Zimbabwe – about 70% of which is covered with sandy, generally acidic, soils – will only be able to produce 12,000 tonnes of the 30,000 tonnes targeted for this season, despite receiving US $13 million from the central bank for fertilizer production, said Minister of Agriculture Rugare Gumbo. Some farmers have resorted to using anthill soil, ash, stover, and animal manure in place of commercial fertilizer.
The country’s soils need NPK (nitrogen, phosphate and potash) macronutrients, as well as periodical rest, rotation with legumes, and agricultural lime applied to adjust the acidity.
Zimbabwe, which used to produce 100% of its own corn and supplied most of Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, now produces only 22.6% of its corn seed requirements. The government secured only 30,000 tonnes of seed out of a required 50,000 tonnes. Communal farmers are now resorting to planting uncertified seed derived from stored commercial grain, while counterfeiters are exploiting the situation by tinting corn grain with a green dye, repackaging it, and selling it as hybrid seed to unsuspecting farmers.